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Simplifying Access to Benefits

AARP Foundation can help struggling older adults connect with eligible benefits.

SNAP Participation Among Older Adults
More than 25 million older adults are eligible for SNAP, yet only 37% participate. Learn why and how your organization can get involved.

More than 39 million older adults are either living in poverty or are on the brink of falling into poverty, and the cost of basic necessities is fast outpacing the earnings of many seniors who live on low or fixed incomes. Millions of older adults need help now — and the need increases as our nation’s population ages.

Older adults face multiple challenges, including food insecurity, caregiving responsibilities, growing debt, health issues and social isolation. Systemic racism and discrimination based on age, gender, ability and other factors can also limit access to social services or to living-wage jobs that come with benefits. Lack of clear, reliable information means many eligible older adults aren’t enrolled in benefits programs that can help.

AARP Foundation provides services and supports programs that help older adults living with low income gain access to benefits for which they’re eligible. In 2022, our Benefits Access efforts helped 212,219 people over 50 with low income secure almost $225 million in benefits. 

SNAP Enrollment Assistance

Through grantmaking, AARP Foundation supports nonprofit community organizations that help older adults enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) so they can afford healthy food.

These efforts helped more than 52,000 eligible older adults receive over $105 million in SNAP benefits in 2023. On average, older adults in the communities we serve receive about $153 a month. On average, older adults in the communities we serve receive about $153 a month, helping them afford nutritious groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Learn more about SNAP.

Medicare Savings Programs

spinner image Stephanie McGuire SC Thrive Grantee
SC Thrive, an AARP Foundation grantee based in Columbia, South Carolina, that helps guide people through the complicated application processes for SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) and Medicare Savings Programs (MSP).

Costs related to Medicare can be a significant portion of the budget for an older adult with low income. Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) make Medicare more affordable by helping to pay premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, copayments and prescription drug coverage costs.

In 2023, we helped 10,704 older adults with low income access $73,042,998 in health care benefits, assisting with enrollment in Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs, and the Part D Low-Income Subsidy program. On average, older adults were connected with health care benefits that saved them $6,823/year, making it easier to afford medical coverage and prescriptions. Learn more about Medicare Savings Programs

Earned Income Tax Credits

AARP Foundation is raising awareness among older adults about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a benefit for workers with low to moderate income that can reduce the taxes they owe and increase the refund they receive. In 2022, Our EITC assistance netted over $59 million in credits for nearly 100,000 older adults with low income. 

Student Loan Support 

Of the 45 million adults who hold student loan debt, 1 in 5 are 50 or older. These 9 million older adults owe more than $387 billion in student loans. The Department of Education offers critical, yet under-utilized, safety net programs that contribute to the financial security of student loan borrowers who are over 50. The goal of our student loan debt program is to increase enrollment in the federal student loan programs, raising awareness and supporting borrowers through the enrollment process.  

AARP Foundation’s innovative and effective programs are more vital than ever. Our work is dependent on the generosity and participation of our donors and partners. Your help fuels the programs and services that help older adults living with low income secure benefits they so desperately need. Learn more about Student Loan support

Give Monthly to Transform Seniors’ Lives

1 in 3 older adults are struggling to make ends meet. As a monthly AARP Foundation donor, you’ll provide sustaining support to help seniors go from surviving to thriving.



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